Okay, so we have already established that the “Christian” right are not really Christian at all. They support war, the death penalty, usury in the form of modern banking, and certainly the use of Christmas to create profits for giant, godless corporations. They are against sharing, have zero sympathy for the underprivileged, and would be better served by worshiping at the altar of Ayn Rand than the church of Jesus Christ. But is Christmas really a Christian Holiday? Do the Christmas traditions so revered in America fit the bill of being Christian? Does the holiday honor Christ, like so many claim it does?
The answer, of course, is no. Christmas as we know it has almost nothing to do with Christ. Short of the estimated month of His birth and the ostensible celebration of it, almost everything else that has come to be associated with Christmas is distinctly non-Christian in origin. For instance, the Christmas tree dates from ancient germanic pagan rituals observing the winter solstice. Evergreen trees are used to represent the persistence of life even during the cold, barren winter months.
Santa Claus is actually a perversion of the legend of Sinterklaas (from Holland), otherwise known as St. Nicholas, who is famous for his habit of making toys for neighborhood children in his native Netherlands. While St. Nicholas is a Catholic saint, that is the only connection he has with Christ. Interestingly, most of the Christian world celebrates him on the 5th or 6th of December, on St. Nicholas day. That makes sense, after all. Jesus Christ shouldn’t have to share his birthday with anyone, and no good Catholic Saint would ever ask him to. It’s only here in the U.S. that have we come to associate Sinterklaas with Christmas, a tradition started by Harper’s Magazine and Coca-Cola in the beginning of the 20th century as a method to sell more products.
As far as gift-giving, the orgy of conspicuous consumption we know to be part of the Christmas season is most certainly not what Jesus said he wanted for us. In fact, it’s not even that traditional. While gift-giving for Christmas has been around for centuries, it was almost exclusively made up of small, hand-made gifts with a specific and personal meaning. It most certainly was not buying someone a toaster oven or a new car with a red bow. That particularly un-Christian practice didn’t begin until the mid-19th century, during the industrial revolution, when more and more corporatists were looking to make as many bucks as possible. This led to the well-known modern exercise of using guilt to get people to put themselves into thousands of dollars of debt in a continuing delusion that spending equals love (the worst offender is De Beers, who essentially tells women “if he doesn’t buy you a diamond, he doesn’t really love you”).
So far, we have seen how the “Christian” right is anti-Jesus, followed by proof that virtually every Christmas tradition we have (except the name) has virtually nothing to do with Jesus. But if the holiday has nothing to do with Jesus, then why do so many self-professed Christians feel the need to defend what they see as a holiday – as well as a belief structure – under attack? The answer to that question in the third and final installment of this War on Christmas trilogy. Be here tomorrow, when we will see the dark and slimy underbelly of O’Reilly’s Christmas warrior ilk. Until then, Happy Holidays!